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Funding for Goat Genetic Research Could Spur New Export Markets for Ontario Goat Breeders

Trent University One of the First Labs in the World to Compile Data on Goat Genetics

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It’s a well-known fact, that more people drink goat’s milk in the world than cow’s milk. Despite this fact, there is an absence of research done on global goat genetics, but that’s about to change. Trent University announced that it has been successful in securing a number of grants totalling $100, 000 to conduct research on high-performing dairy breeds of goats.

The multi-partnership approach includes - the Centre of Excellence in Goat Research and Innovation, Canadian Livestock Genetics Association, goat farmers, and a team of researchers at Trent University.

“We found it surprising that there is very little global research on goat genetics, in comparison to the research done on other domesticated animals,” said Prof. White. “Also on a global basis, we have seen the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that goats are a highly important source of proteins for rural families in developing countries,” he added.

It’s been found that the Saanen breed of dairy goat are known for producing more milk per animal than almost all other dairy goat herds. Studying the Saanen dairy goat breed will play a pivotal part in this research initiative.

“In these countries, families are lucky to get 1 to 1.5 litres of milk per day from their animals. In our local region, we have producers getting over six litres a day and higher from their Saanen goats. Animal nutrition, animal health, and genetics all have a role to play in dairy goat productivity. Trent University’s will be one of the first labs in the world to compile data on goat genetics that can be cross-referenced to productivity, feed regimens and health. In the long run, we see a fantastic opportunity for our local producers to export their goat herd genetics to developing countries. This will be an economic benefit to our local producers, and an even greater economic benefit to populations in developing countries,” said Prof. White. 

The research project has four key objectives:

1.Creation of an automated high-yield DNA extraction protocol for downstream genomics applications
2.Developing an online genetic database for dairy goats, looking at – milk production, diet, birth records, and other animal health monitoring
3.Development of a genetic characterization of animals in herds of three different Ontario farm operations, which will look at – genetic diversity, pedigrees and  comparing genomics
4.Comparing genetics from Ontario herds with that of Trinidad

The research is expected to occur in stages, with the first one expected to take place in an eight month period, with the second stage predicted to take another 16 months.


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